Coca-Cola claims its new drink will reduce stress and anxiety while promoting restful sleep, but does it deliver on its promise? After hearing about Coca-Cola’s intriguing new Sleep Water, designed to bring about a night of restful slumber, we couldn’t help but wonder if a mere bottle of H2O could really help us catch some zzz’s. Skeptical yet curious, we stopped by the local convenience store and picked up a bottle for ourselves to see just how well the drink performs in an unregulated environment. The 410-milliltre (14-ounce) bottle is priced at 151 yen (US$1.40), pretty standard for a bottle of water. Ignoring the advice from the “sleep agents” who appeared in the brand’s humorous commercial, we decided to really put the drink through its paces by forgoing the luxuries of aromatherapy and relaxation music, instead opting for a typical night of laptop use and smartphone-scrolling before bed. The serving is quite a lot to get through in the evening when you’re not particularly thirsty, so we can understand why the company recommends trying this after a long, hot bath, when your body would be naturally crying out for some liquid replenishment. We decide to start drinking after dinner at about 8:00 p.m. Although we haven’t stepped out from a bath, we’re mildly relaxed but, as ever, still thinking about work and the tasks in store the following day. In front of the television and the laptop, and with our mobile phone nearby, it’s a typical evening with the only difference being the addition of the unusual Sleep Water. The taste is sweet and pleasantly peach-like, and despite being billed as a sleep medicine of sorts, it doesn’t taste like medicine at all. Looking at the back of the bottle, the first ingredient listed is sugar, followed by chamomile extract and theanine, the amino acid responsible for decreasing anxiety and promoting restful sleep. While the clear liquid is light and delicious, the sugar content and sweet peach flavour means teeth-brushing afterwards is highly recommended. Preoccupied with the Internet and a television variety programme filled with riotous laughter and enthusiastic food tasting, we forget about the Sleep Water until, about 45 minutes later, a strange feeling of relaxation begins creeping in. The noticeable calmness comes with a clear, stress-free mind and a subtle lightness in the limbs that’s similar to the effects of a glass of wine but without the fogginess. With 200 milligrams of theanine in our system, there’s a slight sedative effect that stops the mind from racing and encourages the body to wind down in a welcome, natural manner. Feeling drowsy and relaxed, we get into bed at 10:00 p.m. and drift off much more easily than usual. After eight hours of sleep, we wake to a new morning. Sadly, there was no desire to jump out of bed feeling elated and refreshed, but that could have been due to the unusually hot weather during the night. As the day wears on, we’re not as tired as usual, but we’re still disinclined to credit that to the effects of the water as there are too many other factors in play during the day. The one thing that really did stand out during the whole experience was the strange, yet pleasant, feeling of relaxation that came about after drinking the sleep water during the evening. With L-Theanine often used as a supplement in 200-milligram tablets to treat anxiety, we can certainly vouch for the calming effect of the amino acid in water form. Currently available at stores around the country, Sleep Water is definitely a drink to try while you’re in Japan. Whether you’re an exhausted member of Japan’s unrelenting workforce or a visitor dealing with jet lag, it’s an easy and effective way to relieve stress and doze off gently into the world of slumber.